Irrationalities

jesusgun

I’ve been hearing a lack of reason in the current debate over how to deal with our violent culture, including through gun control.  I can’t go very deep with this subject, because the flaws in these arguments are so obvious, but I still feel the need to give some simple reactions.

“None of the proposed changes to law would have prevented what happened in Newtown.”

The students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary school were murdered with a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle, the same version of the AR-15 used by the guy at the movie theater in Colorado, the guy who ambushed and killed the volunteer firemen outside Rochester, the guy who shot people at the mall in Oregon, and on and on going way back to the DC Beltway snipers in 2002.  If the federal ban on assault weapons (1994-2004) had still been in effect, that gun would not have been in the killer’s home.  Re-banning them is part of the proposed changes.

There are also recommendations toward changing the health care system.  Children with mental health issues get a certain level of assistance up to age 18, and then the bar to qualify for continuing care is raised considerably.  The Newtown murderer was 20.  Would he have done it anyway?  Maybe.  Maybe not.   Possibly yes, with fewer victims.

“The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Would you mind explaining that to Jesus (see above), Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.?  You can bring down entire empires with focused intent and the resolve to refrain from violence.  It has been done before.  The other obvious flaw is that there’s no end to the arms race required by this line of thinking.

“Guns aren’t the problem.  It’s violent games, TV shows and movies.”

We don’t know what relationship media has to violence, because it hasn’t been studied.  Until it is studied, everyone’s opinion is a guess.  I don’t like guessing.  It’s unscientific.  There’s a recommendation in the President’s 23 executive orders to actually study the causes of violence.

“Criminals won’t obey the new laws.  You’ll only hurt law-abiding citizens.”

Laws are not written based on what criminals will do.  They are directives for the law-abiding to observe, with penalties for those who do not obey.  Duh.

“The Nazis (or North Korea, or insert boogeyman here) believed in gun control.”

Since we have different motives for seeking gun control, we are not the Nazis.

Gun control doesn’t really work in other countries.”

Then why do they have lower percentages of gun deaths?  Yes, yes, gun control will not prevent all murders.  Humans are animals that when stressed, will sometimes resort to killing.  Why make it so easy for even an untrained person to kill efficiently and effectively?

“Obama’s children go to a school with armed guards.  Why can’t mine?  He’s an elitist!”

There’s a difference between being an elitist, and being a member of the elite.  The school Obama’s children attend costs $32k/year.  Their classmates are the children of rich people and world leaders, high-value targets for kidnappers.  Your children deserve safety too though.  The President is trying to find ways to make that happen.

Second Amendment!  Second Amendment!  Second Amendment!”

Although my emotional response to this would be “my ass”, I’ll try to explain myself in a more civilized manner.  Rights in the Constitution are not unlimited.  Freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly etc. all have limits.  The requirement of government to provide for the general welfare, which includes public safety, means it can limit how many guns you can own, what kind, how easy it is to get them, and what kind of license or permit you have to qualify for.  States and cities can restrict the 2A right to bear arms even further, if they deem it necessary.

“Trying to restrict the Second Amendment is treason.  Impeach him!”

My ass!  (Sorry.  I have limits too.)

About these ads

65 Comments

Filed under Ethics and Morality, humor

65 responses to “Irrationalities

  1. Certain members of Congress, using the silent filisbuster et al have prevented the Center for Disease Control or any other federal entity from doing a study on the number, causes and outcomes of gun violence. Scientists are not allowed to study the issue!

    • Yes, I know. Lots of vested interests lobbied to prevent those studies, including Hollywood, the gaming industry, and the NRA. Hopefully the executive order can help re-start that. Always nice to see you, Susie.

  2. I have been saying these same things to everyone I know. I am working hard lobbying my senator (I’m from Texas, so it’s a lost cause), and my Congressman (who is for gun control). I working with Move On.org. I sign petitions. I’m calling Walmart corporate headquarters and visiting local Walmarts’ managers with fliers asking them to remove assault weapons from the shelves. You are absolutely right on all points. It will not be easy to get these bills through Congress because of the NRA and their strong-arm tactics. We have to fight the good fight and get our position know to our representatives. On this Obama is right. Unless the American people let their representatives know how they feel, these bills will go nowhere, unfortunately.

    • I think your actions are admirable, and I do not believe Texas is a lost cause. Texans care about their children and safety as much as anyone. It is true that it’s more of an uphill battle where you are. It takes a lot to get me tuned into any political issue. Having more time since the dog’s departure is probably why this time. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that over the course of my life I’ve been gradually moving to bluer places. I was born in Missouri, then lived in Iowa, then California and now WA, which seems the most progressive of them all.

      Thanks for inspiring me to do more!

  3. I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for the rationality. It angers me, and I hate to be angry, that people fall for these inane sound bites from the NRA which doesn’t care about anyone or anything but lining their pockets. Unfortunately, these greedy ones and their supporters are the most vocal on the issue.
    BTW loved the pic–made me laugh out loud this fine friday morning…thanks for that!

  4. MB

    I’m a conservative on most issues. In fact, I’d love to move to Texas :). However, when it comes to guns, I am in the middle. I neither want guns banned nor do I want them freely given to anyone. This is such a hot issue and it is not black and white on either side. The gun toting conservatives think its against their rights and think it should be easy to get a gun while the liberals think guns are horrible and should be banned. I think both sides are being stupid. Not everyone that owns a gun is crazy and not everyone who wants a gun should. But its really hard to test for crazy now days. And the system is flawed. People are inherently evil, I believe and will resort to evil. That’s why on the news you hear about some quiet person suddenly cracking. Who knows themselves well enough to say that they would never be the one to crack. That is what scares me the most. There is no test to see what a person will do under pressure and in what circumstances. I’m afraid the answer is not very easy to find. And although yes, cars and other things kill people, the damage is much more minimal than a semi-automatic weapon. On a personal note, I have a brother in law and I know for a fact he is INSANE but he owns a gun. He also pees in jars, pretends he is an actor, and rips people off on craigslist. Nonetheless, he is deemed fit to own a gun. That right there makes not want to fight for people to own a gun even though I’m conservative and am not for the gov’t getting involved on most occasions. I don’t know what the answer is here. I talk in circles.

    • MB, you are welcome to talk in this circle any time you like. It’s courageous of you to share your conflicted feelings. I wish more people would admit there are a number of differing views to consider. I’m glad at least that people seem to agree that something should be done, and that the problem requires a multifaceted approach.

    • TJ

      “People are inherently evil, I believe and will resort to evil. ”

      You really need to talk to someone about this. This doesn’t seem like a healthy way to view the world. Really. I’m not saying you’re mentally ill or that you are crazy. I just find it unfortunate that you feel this way. What is it that makes you feel that way?

      • MB

        How many people do you know, if given the opportunity to be selfless, will actually be selfless? Not too many that I know. Most people are selfish, rude, and in it “to win it”. They don’t care about their fellow man. They are hell bent. I’m not saying everyone is this way all the time, but naturally we are inclined to lie, cheat, steal, or make ourselves something better (that’s why facebook is a means for self-promotion). As a person, I am inclined to look out for myself, not the person next to me. In my opinion, that’s not right — its evil. It’s selfish. It’s what destroys families, friendships, and those things that are precious around us — selfishness. I want, I want, I want or me, me, me. If I think of all times I did something “bad”, I think of the ways I hurt others by being selfish. That’s what I mean when I say this world is evil. Some evil is simply lying or not doing the right thing. Other evil appears as a movie theater shot up full of innocents. Evil is all around us and in my humble opinion, the only real way to rid yourself of evil is to turn to God. Without God, I am an ugly sinful soul on my way to a hell bent, selfish existence. With God, He makes me a beautiful person who sees the world differently, gives me purpose (which is not for myself), and changes my heart to love other people (because naturally, I don’t). If this makes me crazy or unhealthy then I don’t know. Yes, it is a different way to think about the world, but honestly, without a Savior to save me from my wretched self, I was a lonesome, depressed, shell of a person who only ever lived for me…now, I look at people with a lot more love, a lot more patience, and am thankful for the people God puts in my life. I’m not saying I’m perfect or I have arrived, but I know that without His saving grace, I am but filthy rags (as the Bible states). There is nothing in me that is good except that Jesus redeemed me, loves me, and gives me a new life. Well I have written too much here, but I hope this at least somewhat answers your question.

  5. I am amazed how angry some Americans become when Canadians weigh in on the topic of gun control/gun possession. Absurd since other countries must deal with the issue also.

    Yup, I am glad to live in Canada. Yes, we have gun deaths every year. No, not as high as the U.S. Honest, in many Canadian social circles, claiming to have a gun/boasting about it, would make a person a bit unusual, if not just strange and odd. Make gun possession, just socially unacceptable, drain away gun culture. Like smoking over time: socially unacceptable.

    Get a dog instead for protection and they’re more fun.

    • You know, I almost wrote a post on what lousy tools guns are for the purposes stated in favor of having them. Home defense? An alarm system and signage are better deterrents. Hunting for food? Way easier to go to the store, better selection etc. Sport? Give me a break. No animal can stand up to bullets and infrared scopes. Learn to shoot a bow if you want sport. Same goes for targets. That just leaves killing people, and if you own a gun you’ve only increased your own chance of getting shot with it, or of using it inappropriately during emotional conflict.

      • TJ

        “You know, I almost wrote a post on what lousy tools guns are for the purposes stated in favor of having them. Home defense? An alarm system and signage are better deterrents.”

        What about when the deterrents have failed? Detective and deterrent controls are not effective for eliminating an issue. That is when a gun for home defense comes into play.

        “Hunting for food? Way easier to go to the store, better selection etc.”

        Why should someone have to buy it, if they can go get it themselves? Should no one have a garden at home? Have you heard of the chemicals that end up in the meat? People buy organic/free-range like it’s going out of style. A lot of people just go into the woods to do the same thing.

        “Sport? Give me a break. No animal can stand up to bullets and infared scopes. Learn to shoot a bow if you want sport. Same goes for targets.”
        (It’s “infrared”)

        I don’t like basketball, but I wouldn’t say that just because I find the whole premise annoying that no one should want to play. You really think just because you don’t participate in a sport, someone that does and enjoys it is a fool?

        “That just leaves killing people, and if you own a gun you’ve only increased your own chance of getting shot with it, or of using it inappropriately during emotional conflict.”

        Life is about measuring and accepting risk. By driving a car you have increased the risk that it will get you killed. Most people ensure the proper controls have been implemented to ensure that they have reduced the risk they face to a reasonable level that they have accepted.

        Also, just because you fear that you may use it inappropriately during a conflict, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Calm down…do yoga or something. Get a grip.

        • Thanks for the spell-check. Of course not everyone who owns a gun, or even most, will use it inappropriately in an instance of emotional instability. However, having any gun in easy access increases exponentially (40-45 times more than homes with no gun) the chance of a homicide or suicide occuring. Therefore on the basis of risk vs. benefit you brought up, it’s a good idea not to have a gun around.

        • TJ

          I’d need to see your risk analysis on that. Mine says that it’s a good idea to have a gun around.

  6. Pingback: Guns and the Law Abiding Citizen « A Little Tour in Yellow

  7. We have very strict gun laws in Australia and if someone is shot it makes the headlines (because it’s such an uncommon occurrence). An example of our gun laws: my father-in-law suffered a stroke in Feb last year and his guns and license were confiscated until he could get a medical certificate stating he was in a fit state to manage them. Personally, I hate guns – but we need them on the farm because of the razor back pigs. He’s got his guns and license back now, but they only come out about once every two years or so when the pigs start digging up the sugarcane. I don’t think I could live in a country where people (apart from police) can carry a gun in the street – it’s complete madness and a recipe for disaster…

    • The Australian laws sound quite sensible to me. As far as the American orientation goes, I suppose when you grow up in the asylum, a certain amount of madness appears normal. It can’t be healthy to make weapons a fetish. Law is changeable. Changing culture takes longer.

    • TJ

      “Personally, I hate guns – but we need them on the farm because of the razor back pigs.”

      Uhhh…I don’t understand. You hate guns…but have them AND use them? Then why have them? I am sure that no one is forcing you. So, why?

      • You’ve obviously never come face to face with a razor back pig, TJ. I had one attack my car one day and it’s tusks went through the metal in the door. Farmers need them to protect themselves and their crops. City folk don’t.

        • TJ

          You’ve obviously never come face-to-face with a drunk wielding a knife, or a car-jacker with a gun, or person that just wants what you have, or…well….you must get it by now, right? You REALLY think that city dwellers don’t have anything to protect themselves from? You need more trips to the city, or cable that’ll show you some news. Recently, a bunch of children were killed in a school. You should look it up. They probably should have had someone willing to protect them.

  8. Gunpolicy.org states that In the USA in 2011, the number of firearm caused deaths – 32,163. The number of gun related homicides – 11,101 (15,953 caused by all methods). The number of suicides that were gun related – 19,766.

    In Canada, we have almost as many stabbings as shootings, but our rate for homicides per 100,000 people is much lower – 1.94 in Canada compared to 6.42 in the USA. (Year 2006 – Political Calculations).

    The suicide rates for both countries are pretty much the same – 11.25 per 100,000 people. Suicide methods are different, with Americans choosing a firearm 53% of the time, while Canadians choose hanging/suffocation 44% of the time.

    So, I guess my only question would be, if gun control was the same in the USA as in Canada, would the rate for homicides decrease, or would Americans just use a different weapon?

    • That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer, but I think it falls under the “study the causes of violence” initiative. Anything I could add is only completely unqualified hypothesis, but I’ll offer one for practice:

      One of the downsides to thinking you have to be the world’s police force is a high level of PTSD. More military personnal committed suicide last year than died in combat. Americans accept a higher level of violence as “normal” than would be tolerated in many other countries. That affects homicide rates because there’s less of a taboo against killing, rape, domestic violence and assault. (I can’t prove any of that. It hasn’t been studied.)

      • TJ

        “Americans accept a higher level of violence as “normal” than would be tolerated in many other countries. That affects homicide rates because there’s less of a taboo against killing, rape, domestic violence and assault.”

        Wait…really? You really think we find it acceptable? In a lot of other countries, people (mostly women) are still stoned to death in the streets as punishment, women who are raped are looked down upon because they are now unclean, not viewed as victims of horrific crime, and husbands are allowed to physically abuse women and children as methods of punishment.

        C’mon.

        • C’mon yourself! I said it was unqualified hypothesis (so there). I’m perfectly willing to wait until peer-reviewed studies come out on what causes violence in our culture.

        • TJ

          I couldn’t reply below, sooo…

          :C’mon yourself! I said it was unqualified hypothesis (so there). I’m perfectly willing to wait until peer-reviewed studies come out on what causes violence in our culture.”

          I am not questioning that you made a hypothesis and whether or not it was accurate. I was asking if you really believed that.

          So, (non-rhetorical question) why do you believe that?

        • Based on my own purely anecdotal experience of traveling to other countries, violence is not as prevalent in those places as here. I don’t really know why it is safer for a young woman or even children to be out unescorted after dark in European and Asian cities, but it is a common sight.

  9. IM:
    Your reactions to the current debate over gun control are concise and well stated.
    Although I am not a gun owner, I have no objection to someone owning a gun for self-protection or for hunting. I came from a rural part of the Northeastern US where deer hunting season was considered sacred but I never encountered a deer hunter who needed a semi-automatic rifle or an assault weapon to hunt. Perhaps there is a secret cabal of terrorist cells forming among the deer and wild game populations of North America of which I am unaware.
    C-a-L

    • Thanks very much. I wouldn’t know much about deer terrorist cells, living here with all these commie hippie deer who just want to share everything and live off the land :)

    • TJ

      Semi-automatic rifles help to ensure that is no undue suffering by an animal. If you miss, for whatever reason (wind, elevation adjustment mistake, etc.), you should be able to follow up quickly with a second shot. That is only how it is helpful. In self-defense, semi-automatic may be exactly what saves your life. Revolvers are semi-automatic. Would you have those banned as well? How would you feel if someone told you that you couldn’t own a gun that could save your life because it fired too quickly (by shooting once each time you puled the trigger) when that is exactly the criteria that made you choose that firearm? Not rhetorical if you would really choose to answer.

      • TJ

        Semi-automatic rifles help to ensure that “THERE” is no undue suffering “OF” an animal.

        Sorry….saw that and it bothered me.

        • TJ:
          1. Use of a semi-automatic rifle by a hunter who is a poor shooter is not likely to ensure undue suffering to an animal.
          2. Since I’ve managed to live to a ripe old age without any gun, my only answer to your second question would have to be rhetorical.
          However, the proposed changes to the current US gun laws are on banning military-style assault weapons and a 10-shot limit on the magazines of weapons, not on banning semi-automatic revolvers.

        • TJ

          1. Use of a semi-automatic rifle by a hunter who is a poor shooter is not likely to ensure undue suffering to an animal.

          I didn’t say a poor shooter. No one is perfect. Mistakes can be made. You said you didn’t see a reason, I gave you one.

          2. Since I’ve managed to live to a ripe old age without any gun, my only answer to your second question would have to be rhetorical.
          However, the proposed changes to the current US gun laws are on banning military-style assault weapons and a 10-shot limit on the magazines of weapons, not on banning semi-automatic revolvers.

          Quite a few people have not lived to a ripe old age, because they weren’t able to successfully defend themselves. Shouldn’t everyone have the right to live to a ripe old age?

          Military-style…yes…style. That is the point. It’s a style issue.

  10. galenpearl

    You’re preaching to the choir, Mikey. Like others, I have no objection to responsible gun ownership. My dad had a shotgun and enjoyed hunting. I had a .22 rifle and was a pretty good marksman, although I drew the line at shooting at living things.

    I have no guns now because my interest in marksmanship waned decades ago, and I believe the statistics that indicate that gun ownership is more likely to result in an accidental shooting than in a successful self defense.

    To those who want these military level weapons, I would say that there are many things we can’t own, or at least we can’t own them without restrictions. I’m thinking of the Pepsi commercial years back that offered a military jet for a certain number of Pepsi points. It was a joke, folks! (I know this because some guy actually got the requisite number of points and then sued to get his jet. Sorry, fella.)

    • TJ

      Military weapons really doesn’t mean what you think it does. The handguns that the military issues are garbage. The rifles that the military issues (in your context [M-16]) are not available to civilians already and….are garbage. Remember, lowest bidder wins when the government decides what to buy.

  11. Actually you CAN own a military fighter jet. Thousands of people do. You just can’t own them with weapons or the onboard targeting computers. The guys on Pawn Stars took one out for a test flight, but it was too pricey.

  12. The Bushmaster was found in the trunk of a car owned by the shooters mother. Was not used in the shootings. Good information here.

    http://bloviatingzeppelin.net/archives/6647

    • I’m sorry if you haven’t read the report of the Newtown coroner and Medical Examiner. Likewise, the press briefings confirmed it. The Bushmaster was the murder weapon, and most victims were shot multiple times with it. The killer committed suicide with a handgun.

  13. DJ

    Rights are not granted or revoked by governments…they exist as a fundamental part of being à human with self awareness and purpose.
    They ARE unlimited…and the word infringed is very very specific, clear and coherent. The right to own arms….ANY arms exists for one reason only…so that free men can fight tyranny. The marxists in power and the useful idiot progtards who empower them have pushed their evil agenda to the point now where civil war is inevitable.
    Enjoy the coming violence….because liberals are inherently cowards
    they WILL lose the coming war….and WE WILL purge the country of their poisonous evil. Enjoy what’s left of your existence. We are through talking, through attempting to reason with those incapable of rational thought. You refuse to accept reality peaceably….therefore it
    will be explained in the only language that maxists respect…..the language of power which is articulated by force.

    • I’ve heard your philosophical position before, the first articulation I read being Chairman Mao’s. His version of it goes, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” I might have even agreed with it up to about age 10, but these days I’m neither marksman nor marxist. As I’ve gotten older, studied more and had experiences with political pacifist movements, my beliefs changed. I believe power is articulated by the force of compassion.

      The concept that any right can exist as unalienable or unlimited is only that – a concept. In practice, the boundaries of rights are constantly being re-negotiated, by governments, by cultures, by society, market forces, even by genetics.

      I enjoyed the dramatic tone of your statement very much. It’s kind of fun to imagine such an apocalyptic version of life. Filtering boring, normal American life through the point-of-view of a Lord of the Rings character probably provides as much energy as a second cup of coffee.

  14. TJ

    First: “Would you mind explaining that to Jesus (see above), Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.? You can bring down entire empires with focused intent and the resolve to refrain from violence. It has been done before. The other obvious flaw is that there’s no end to the arms race required by this line of thinking.”

    A. Gandhi advised that everyone need not keep to nonviolence, especially if it were used as a cover for cowardice, saying, “where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”

    Protection of one’s self and family firmly fall into this line. Citizens should not be made to cower in fear of criminals. Disarming responsible citizens (knowing you will not be disarming criminals) and removing the ability to defend themselves is unreasonable.

    B. Is racism truly defeated? C’mon. He helped remove segregation…but his dream is not a reality. He most definitely did not defeat an entire empire.

    C. Jesus….uhhh….yeah.

    Second: “Laws are not written based on what criminals will do. They are directives for the law-abiding to observe, with penalties for those who do not obey. Duh.”

    So, you find it acceptable to punish someone that murders someone by not allowing a person to defend themselves against someone who would do them harm? Why is that?

    Third: “There’s a difference between being an elitist, and being a member of the elite. The school Obama’s children attend costs $32k/year. Their classmates are the children of rich people and world leaders, high-value targets for kidnappers. Your children deserve safety too though. The President is trying to find ways to make that happen.”

    So he says. However, why are his children protected with guns, but when the NRA suggests the same are done for our children it is considered ludicrous?

    I will concede that some of these arguments (impeach him, I’ll start shooting people, etc.) are unreasonable and brought from fear and ignorance. However, it isn’t only from one “side” that this occurs. Anyway. Just my thoughts on all this.

    (For the person in Texas: If you feel it’s a lost cause, then you should see that popular opinion (AKA Democracy) is strongly weighed there and you should be thankful. Even if you don’t agree with what is happening, the system is not as broken as you would like to believe. I did not vote for Obama or Romney, but I still glad people went in droves to make their choice.)

    • What Jesus, Gandhi, and MLK shared is the preference for nonviolence as a primary tactic. That was my point, if unclear. I suppose a more accurate assessment about empires is that they eventually implode under their own weight.

      Reasonable gun control laws like universal background checks, expanded mandatory mental health reporting, ammo taxes, restrictions on ownership of specific weapons, and penalties/fines for not providing safe storage are attempts to balance two competing intents: the right to self-defense vs. public safety as a whole (which is affected by the entire concentration and diversity of weaponry in an environment).

      Though I wouldn’t choose the term “ludicrous”, security professionals will tell you there are many ways to ensure safety more effectively than with guns, including alarms, camera monitoring, and non-lethal weapons like tasers and pepper spray. The problem with using a gun in a classroom (or any room) is that bullets don’t always stop inside the first body they hit. They can pass through to next door and kill someone you can’t even see.

      Thanks for your extensive reaction!

      • TJ

        The world “reasonable” is entirely subjective. What one person may find reasonable, another person may find ridiculous.

        In any event. I hope that nothing was taken as sarcasm, or snarkiness (if that is a word). I would also point out how all of them were murdered. I am not willing to test non-violence while the safety of myself or my family is at stake. I am not on a crusade to show people that either non-violence or violence are a solution to solve a problem. I merely want to protect myself and my family. If need be, fellow citizens.

        Plenty of security professionals will also tell you that the alarm and cameras are deterrents, not effective controls for stopping burglaries or home invasions. Pepper spray is not effective enough for me to consider it viable. Tasers are only effective for a limited number of targets, 1 or 2, and if you miss or there is a third…you’re out of luck. Especially if they already have a gun.

  15. Ritchie

    GANDHI: An autobiography. The story of my experiments with Truth

    Page 446, on which Gandhi is relating his struggles raising volunteers to fight for the Crown in World War I:

    I used to issue leaflets asking people to enlist as recruits. One of the arguments I had used was distasteful to the Commissioner: ‘Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn.’ The Commissioner refereed to this and said that he appreciated my presence in the conference in spite of the differences between us. And I had to justify my standpoint as courteously as I could.

  16. galenpearl

    Mikey, I went back and read the responses to my comments as well as all the others. You are no non-violent coward, that’s all I can say. Taking on this debate takes an inner fortitude that I’m not sure I could muster. You are a warrior through and through.

  17. Re: the mental health thing…won’t help. Our mental health system is not simply underfunded, it is shitty for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with funding. It often hurts more people than it helps, by forcing them to take drugs with disastrous side effects, locking people up for no actual crime, and sometimes (once they’re locked up) physically assaulting them in order to force drugs or electric shock on them. Adam Lanza’s mom was planning to forcibly hospitalize him. I sometimes think this must have been the motive for his acts of murder…when I’m not leaning towards the explanation that he was a government plant.

    “Obama’s children go to a school with armed guards. Why can’t mine? He’s an elitist!”

    Why would anyone WANT this? Putting armed guards in public schools is not going to make them safer. It is going to make them learn early on that they are potential criminals: http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/the-1-reason-why-you-should-be-against-the-white-houses-plan-for-preventing-gun-violence/

    • I do not believe Adam Lanza’s mom intended to have him hospitalized. She wanted him out of the house because she could not control him, but she was herself also a victim of distorted views about government – a “prepper”, waiting for the assumed imminent collapse of civilization. To some degree, I believe she made the monster that he was. She took him out of school and society, had no safe storage for her guns, and she accompanied her troubled son to the gun range for “practice”.

  18. christurek

    Mikey, it’s important to realize that the AWB would not have prevented people from obtaining the AR’s utilized in the shootings you mentioned. I am a CT resident and firearm owner (I’m an Olympic smallbore target shooter), and not only does CT have an AWB on the books that is heavily enforced, but it is the law that the original federal AWB was based upon. Here’s a link to it for reference:

    http://www.jud.ct.gov/JI/criminal/glossary/assaultweapon.htm

    The law, which is surprisingly easy to read and understand as far as laws go, also shows how firearms are classified as “assault weapons,” by having a set number of features, such as a pistol grip or adjustable stock that do not impact the lethality of the firearm. Assault weapons as we now know them are not fully automatic, those are legally classified as machine guns and have been illegal to manufacture since 1986. You can still own them, as long as they are not select-fire (switch between semi- and full-auto), you have a license specifically for the machine gun, a thorough background check, fingerprints on file with the FBI, and a tax stamp, and of course, several thousand dollars to purchase said machine gun, ammunition, and access to a range that will allow you to fire the weapon or enough land that you own to legally allow you to discharge firearms on your own property. While I agree that true assault weapons, those that are full-auto or select fire that are under 26″ in overall length should not be in the hands of private citizens, I do not support a new AWB as those firearms have been illegal in the states for nearly 3 decades. That being said, I am in favor of better mental health care and background checks for all firearm transfers, otherwise these tragedies will continue.

    All of us gun owners aren’t crazy; the ones calling for impeachment and believing Obama is the embodiment of evil should absolutely be ignored, they only hurt the image of gun owners in America and cause further political stratification in our country.

    • I apologize if I implied in any way that gun owners per se are crazy. My intent was to draw attention to the arguments used as being irrational, not the people using them. I think many of those using these arguments had the most rational sorts of motives, like vested interest or profit.

      Without getting all geeky and overwordy, I’ll just provide the link to one of my research sources, Sam Wang’s statistical site, and their reasoning on why a continuation of the AWB nationally would have had a high probability for reducing recent shootings: http://election.princeton.edu/2012/12/14/did-the-federal-ban-on-assault-weapons-matter/

      To refocus specifically on the Newtown case, yes, the guns were legally obtained. However, his mom had no safe storage or trigger locks, she herself had removed her troubled son from school and society, and instead of seeking treatment she taught him to use weapons. These were terrible choices, with lethal consequences. Her murder was tragically ironic for a woman who believed in the imminent collapse of society, who feared government tyranny. By far the greatest percentage of murders are committed by people who already know each other.

      Thanks so much for dropping by to contribute. I appreciate it!

  19. Off topic to start….saw your comment on Citizen Tom and thought these quotes from Spurgeon would interest you.
    http://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/

    Re: your point here: ‘We don’t know what relationship media has to violence, because it hasn’t been studied. ”
    It has been studied and “since 1975, the scientific confidence and statistical magnitude of this link have been clearly positive and have
    consistently increased over time.”
    http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/caa/abstracts/2000-2004/01BA.ap.pdf

    http://www.research.vt.edu/resmag/sciencecol/media_violence.html
    It may seem strange but our violent culture concerns me more as a pacifist than do the weapons.

    • Thank you for the educational links! To clarify, I might have said “We don’t know ENOUGH”. Neither of those studies details what causes what, only that more violence exists in violent cultures. We need to solve the “chicken or egg” question of which comes first, and whether what comes second is caused by what comes first, or is merely an accompanying condition.

  20. As so many here have pointed out, and you yourself touched upon, there are no easy answers to the gun-control debate. But I applaud your straightforward approach to get to the heart of the logic. Logic should be easy. Keeping in place irrational laws for a politically strong minority only continues to put the majority in harms way.

    • I remember some History professor from my distant past talking about how hard it is to change outdated or even immoral laws once they have been long established. He was talking about slavery and voting rights, but the principle applies to gun control too. Thank you for the compliments, and for adding your own thoughts.

  21. I do love the point that you made about Ghandi, Jesus and Martin Luther, and you are right, radical change can happen when the Highest good for everyone is the intent. It has always been my belief that is how real change occurs in any situation, when you love people and abhor violence.

  22. PS: There is no real proof of what weapon or weapons were used, since the official police evidence is sealed of what exactly happened at Sandy Hook, and the media is so narrow, it’s hard to get an independent perspective. That is a sidebar about the media in general, not a response to gun control. I can see both sides of the gun control issue, and there is not a simple answer, but I think our time and resources in congress could be better spent working on the mental health care, drug dependency, gang violence and the lack of meaningful work at a living wage.If you look at any gun death, it almost always has something to do with one of those issues

    • Sealed or not, the Police Chief explicitly stated to TV reporters that all the victims at the school were shot with the Bushmaster, and that most were shot multiple times. Maybe you can’t read it on paper yet, but we do know exactly what the murder weapon was in this case. Of course all the other factors you mention are also worth addressing.

      Since I wrote this almost two months ago, I’ve done a lot of reading about the current state of data gathering and storage for what gun dealers call background checks. It’s almost non-existent. States don’t share data, and it’s done voluntarily on index cards, stored in cardboard file boxes which may never get checked again. Over 90% have never been digitized or scanned into computers. Basically, we don’t have background checks at all. A credit check before renting is more thorough.

  23. Logan

    I didn’t read through all your comments, so I’m not sure if it has been addressed. However, here it goes. This one is in regards to the second amendment. Justice Antonio Scalia, when commenting on the amendment, said that it comes with implied limitations. For example, the language– right to bear arms– means anything you can carry in your hands. This includes grenade launchers, rocket launchers, STINGER missiles, grenades, yet– these are illegal– again, an implied limitation towards the amendment, nevertheless. It would seem reasonable that given the logic– that these type of weapons cause massive destruction therefore should be illegal– could also be applied and to extended to, magazines and fully automatic weapons.

    • I would agree with you. There’s more ambiguity in the actual language of the Constitution than some people believe. Over the years, the Supreme Court has done 180s interpreting the meaning of many issues. It reminds me of the different ways people interpret the Bible and other holy books. Some say it has to be viewed literally, with a view to the narrowest possible meaning, but the standard of wisdom and usefulness in such documents is in their adaptability and flexibility. Thanks for your contribution. I don’t think anyone else brought up your point.

  24. I think that an armed populace is a good thing. It deters invasion (just look at Japan’s US invasion contingency plans from WWII)

    As far as the violence in video games and movies, I think that the psychos enjoyed them because they were psychos; they enjoyed them in a different way than the thousands of others who watch and play the things.

    • I don’t really have an opinion about the goodness or badness of a hypothetical armed populace. It all depends on the skill level of the wielders. We have too many under-qualified gun toters if you ask me. I owned guns when I was a kid, but have no need any more. I discovered the benefits of leaving hostile situations as they begin to form. As a result, I haven’t been in danger in decades. Thanks for commenting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s